The UNODC-WCO Global Container Control Programme enhances interregional practical cooperation and information exchange

On 22-23 February 2023, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), jointly with the State Revenue Committee of the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Kazakhstan, conducted in Almaty the Fifth Inter-Regional Expert-Level Meeting under the Inter-Regional Network of Customs Authorities and Port Control Units (IREN) of the UNODC-WCO Global Container Control Programme (CCP). 

Experts from Customs Services and other competent authorities of the CCP IREN participating countries (Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan), as well as UNODC and WCO Headquarters, programme partners and donors discussed and summarized the results of the "Nicotiana" Interregional Operation on suppressing the trafficking in tobacco products; reviewed the CCP IREN’s current activities at the expert level; and discussed the priorities, needs, and proposals for further consolidating multilateral and bilateral practical cooperation.

Mr. Daniyar Zhanalinov, the Chairman of State Revenue Committee of the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Kazakhstan in his welcoming remarks noted that “UNODC and WCO have provided over the years a great support to the Customs service of the Republic of Kazakhstan in training and education of officers in document handling and profiling of high-risk cargo; provided special equipment and instruments and training on their use; established close relations with colleagues in the CCP IREN region through experience sharing; provided the WCO mechanisms and information systems for interaction and rapid information exchange. All these had a positive impact on the results of the Committee's activities in combating the illegal movement across the customs border of drugs and precursors, export control commodities, goods containing intellectual property rights, CITES flora and fauna and other high-risk goods. The illegal production and trade of tobacco products, representing the high-risk goods is a global problem.” Mr. Zhanalinov extended his appreciation to UNODC and WCO for having entrusted the coordination of the operation to Kazakhstan and expressed his hope that each country gained useful expertise and was able to establish operational cooperation at both regional and interregional levels.

Ms. Ashita Mittal, the UNODC Regional Representative for Central Asia, extended the appreciation to donors for their consistent and continuous support to the UNODC’s initiatives in the region and has mentioned in the welcoming remarks that “the unique IREN platform, which was established under CCP, continues its institutional shaping, for countries to be able to cooperate smoothly and successfully in a multilaterally beneficial way. The Nicotiana Operation, the outcomes of the which are to be discussed today, is a shining product of such a practical cooperation, based on close mutual trust at all levels, which we could hardly imagine some time ago”.

With a view of practical implementation of the provisions of the MoU on IREN and the Joint Declaration of the Heads and Authorized Officials of Customs Authorities of the IREN participating countries, adopted on 26 May 2022 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, the experts endorsed the meeting recommendations, outlining the next practical steps to further enhance and sustain the cooperation among the CCP IREN participating countries.

The participants expressed their appreciation to UNODC for the longstanding and sustained support provided within the framework of CCP IREN based on national needs and priorities in terms of facilitating interregional practical cooperation and information exchange mechanisms and practices. The progress in the further improvement of the cooperation under the Network was reiterated as a crucial dedicated contribution of the Programme to countries’ efforts in preventing and suppressing illegal cross-border cargo movements and facilitating the legitimate trade.

The CCP Regional Segments for Central Asia, Southern Caucasus and Pakistan are funded by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), the Export Control and Related Border Security Program (EXBS) as well as Global Affairs Canada through its Weapons Threat Reduction Program.


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